87. Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Packard) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

We have given further consideration to some of the issues which need to be addressed in deciding on additional instructions to the SALT delegation. Here are my conclusions on the ABM and SAM upgrade issues.2

I have concluded that it would be better to have an NCA level of ABM rather than a zero level in a limited SALT agreement which would not ban MIRV. Although an NCA level would be expensive for us and politically difficult now, it would keep our options open for the future.

In the kind of an agreement I see possible, it is very important that we preserve our MIRV program. It will be easier for us to defend our MIRV before Congress if the Soviets have an NCA level of ABM.

SAM upgrade remains troublesome. I believe we should instruct our delegation to push this issue hard to establish two understandings.

We should require an agreement with the Soviets that SAM systems would not be upgraded to an ABM capability.
We should require agreement on specific indicators which would give each side some assurance that SAM systems were in fact not being upgraded. While we probably will not be able to achieve agreement on indicators which would be conclusive evidence, we might be able to agree on indicators which would justify bringing the subject up for discussion in the event the indicators were seen in the future.
David Packard
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330–76–076, Box 12, USSR, 388.3. Top Secret. On July 7 Lynn forwarded the memorandum to Kissinger with comments. He concluded that “Packard’s views on SAM upgrade are generally consistent with the provisions of NSDM 51 and with the discussion at the Verification Panel meeting [see Document 85]. His change in position on the ‘NCA or zero’ issue should, however, be reflected in the memorandum for the President summarizing the deliberations of the Panel.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 878, SALT, SALT talks (Vienna), Vol. XI, July 1–19, 1970)
  2. Packard based his conclusions on a July 1 memorandum from Foster that provided comments on ABM limitations. Foster explained that Soviet Henhouse defense capabilities added to the capability of SA–5s and SA–2s if used in an ABM role. Because the SA–5 could protect the Henhouses, the United States would have to devote more forces to suppressing Henhouses, which even if reduced in number, did not eliminate the capability of Soviet SAMs using other sensors for early acquisition. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 330–76–076, Box 12, USSR, 388.3)